Ryan, Teamster, Pilot and Jack of Many Trades
'Doc' Krober, probably not a real doctor?, Scientist, Curiosity Fulfiller
Willow, Former Marine, current computer / hacker specialist
Ed, Mercenary-stat'd Android, (Combat: 38, Instinct: 45, Loyalty: 50, Revolver, 3 reload cylinders Flight Suit)
Getting to the DreamSo the niece/nephew/brother-in-law/android merc squad dock just outside Prospero's Dream, because their 93 Hull mining vessel will not fit in the dry dock. They lose some stress from getting back to civilization, and then the Q-Team pointing pulse rifles at them and hosing them down with disinfectant stresses them out again. They head through the dry docks, down a corridor towards the Stellar Burn to buy drinks, look for weapons, and offload their cargo.
|Art from Tsutomu Nihei's Blame!|
The SlideMy first encounter roll is a deadly one. I roll an 8. I ask them who's in front of the group. Ryan's up front, and fails a Body save. The group (I rule) has blundered into a section of walkway that irises open and they tumble down a chrome-slick peristalting gullet. Random chrome slide to the Sink! When they awaken they're on a plateau of broken concrete. In the distance they see what looks dimly like a waterfall, with a few flickering yellow lights on a precipice atop it. Above them, cold blue lights shine like distant uncaring stars. Cracked buildings lean drunkenly, and in the distance a series of vast pipes seems to writhe. (In retrospect I should've had them roll a fear save or panic check, but I was so flummoxed that I was just trying to give them some semi-viable choice of direction). They manage to find an old O2 bottle with 6 hours of breathe left to it. Taking stock, they march towards the waterfall. I roll an encounter and get 8 Hunglungs with spears (and quite low speed) waiting in ambush.
The AmbushThe PCs wind up in a canyon formed of two colossal buildings leaning against one another, an alley between them turned into a small steep ravine. It's quiet, they don't see anything moving. Willow asks if she can see anything with her IR goggles, and I tell her there are dim handprints on one of the empty window-panes.
So at the base of the buildings there's a shelf of concrete about as wide as a sidewalk, then the ravine, which bottoms out in a narrow trail. Willow sees someone looking out at them, just a sliver of face, partially masked by concrete and some kind of blocky monocle. The figure darts away.
Willow's player smartly asks if her bioscanner will help, and whips it out. She notices 8 signatures spread out between the buildings. Willow wants to sneak up to the 'sidewalk' and listen in on the larger cluster. I tell her there's enough debris on the ground she needs an auditory distraction, and Ryan obliges by smacking his crowbar against the ground like a maniac. The sneaking marine touches one of the metal 'vines' growing all over the Sink, and it is warm to the touch, despite not showing up on IR (Sanity save!).
Willow listens in; the Hunglungs seem to think they're clueless tourists. As they spring out to 'ambush' them, Willow has gotten behind the Hunglungs and surprises them, snatching a spear from one of them and hurling him down the ravine. Doc, Ryan and Ed are stressed to receive a charge of emaciated, tired Hunglungs with spears, but manage to down 3 of them in the scrum.
The LootThe rest of the Hunglungs opt to flee, and the PCs watch them go. The PCs manage to salvage 5 spears, 2 ancient hazardous environment suits that are relatively undamaged / patchable, a flare gun (3 flares) and the IR monocle. Doc and Willow have begun to feel feverish as ACMD takes hold. Willow and Ryan don the environment suits and the four keep moving towards the waterfall.
TakeawaysI'm playing around with encumbrance rules Sean is playtesting. Characters can carry Strength / 10 items. Stacks of 3 stimpacks/magazines/grenades are 1 item slot. There's a wearing slot for armor or otherwise wearable items (flashlights, RAW, and short-range comms at my table) outside of the Str/10 limit, as are slots for your mitts. So there was more deliberation at the Dream and when looting the Hunglungs about what to take, which seems very apt to me. Drives home 'survival horror' and doesn't seem to slow things down overmuch.
Also I was not at all ready for them to go straight to the Sink - there's only a 2% chance of this happening by default. But, uh, be ready for this. Just in case. You can just wing things a bit with random encounters, and a dim-and-vague description of the overall layout, which is awesome, but next time I'm going to use some of the landmarks specifically mentioned in that spread. Probably put together a small pointcrawl of where they've been, options for where to go.
Also the rules for 'you don't have an O2 tank' in the Sink are on page 31 at the start of the Choke, which totally makes sense because you'd go through there first... unless this happens. So I forgot about that! But it's not a huge deal. They have a tiny amount of O2 and I can always say 'now that you've been down here long enough you feel really woozy' if they lose that O2 for any reason. Anyway, I do love that APoF has a Hellslide straight to the Sink.